Skip to main content

Somalia

Volume 455: debated on Thursday 25 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of recent Ethiopian action in Somalia; what discussions she has had with the Ethiopian Government on this issue; and if she will make a statement. (117444)

[holding answer 23 January 2007]: The Ethiopian action in Somalia has resulted in the Transitional Federal Government gaining control of Mogadishu and most of the rest of south and central Somalia.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my noble Friend Lord Triesman of Tottenham, has spoken to Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia about the recent action in Somalia and officials remain in frequent contact with their Ethiopian counterparts.

We want Ethiopian troops to withdraw as soon as they can, as Ethiopia has said it wants. We support the early deployment of a stabilisation force, as envisaged by UN Security Council resolution 1725, in order to help avoid a security vacuum and a return to civil war.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps she has taken in support of establishing an international coalition to replace Ethiopian troops in Somalia. (117445)

[holding answer 23 January 2007]: We are working closely with our international partners on this issue.

John Sawers, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Director-General Political, represented the UK at the International Contact Group (ICG) on Somalia in Nairobi on 5 January. In its communiqué, the ICG expressed an urgent need for funding to facilitate the deployment of a stabilisation force in Somalia, as envisaged in UN Security Council resolution 1725. It welcomed Uganda’s offer to be part of this force.

I attended the EU General Affairs and External Relations Council on 22 January. We concluded that the EU stands ready to help with a stabilisation mission, as envisaged in UN Security Council resolution 1725.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her Kenyan counterparts on (a) the situation in Somalia, (b) Ethiopian actions in Somalia and (c) US air strikes in Somalia; what the outcome was of these discussions; and if she will make a statement. (117446)

[holding answer 23 January 2007]: Our high commissioner in Nairobi has spoken to Foreign Minister Tuju of Kenya about the recent action in Somalia and officials remain in frequent contact with their Kenyan counterparts on this subject.

We made our position clear to the Kenyans:

we fully support the Transitional Federal Government in their efforts to find a lasting and inclusive political settlement, and to become the effective governing authority; and

we want Ethiopian troops to withdraw as soon as they can, and as Ethiopia has said it wants. The early deployment of a stabilisation force, as envisaged by UN Security Council resolution 1725, is an important step to help avoid a security vacuum and a return to civil war.

I refer the hon. Member to the response my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, North (Jeremy Corbyn) on 10 January 2007, Official Report, columns 281-82.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what her policy is on the independence of Somaliland from the rest of Somalia. (117449)

We do not recognise Somaliland as an independent state, nor does the rest of the international community. The UK has signed up to a common EU position and to many UN Security Council Presidential Statements, which refer to the territorial integrity and unity of Somalia. Nevertheless, the UK is aware of the position of the Somaliland authorities and of opinion within Somaliland. We hope that Somaliland will engage in early dialogue with the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia and that a mutually acceptable solution for their future relationship can be agreed. We readily acknowledge Somaliland’s achievements over the last decade and continue to support actively progress and stability in Somaliland.